Fairies are never allowed to stray out of Fairyland during the winter-time. But when spring comes they may dance and play in the woods and meadows of the earth as long as they please, and at night they may sleep out in the wood, curled up in a bluebell or a buttercup.
There was once a fairy called Silver Wing, who grew tired of waiting for the spring-time. One day early in February she whispered a secret to her playmates.
She was going to run away from Fairyland and see what the earth looked like in winter-time. Her little friends said it would be great fun to go with her.
As soon as supper was over the naughty little fairies slipped away in the dusk until they came to the first wood ourside Fairyland. For a long time they played there, looking very gay and pretty in their green silk frocks and white bonnets. But at last they crept into a bed of ivy leaves and went to sleep.
When they awoke in the morning the ground was covered with soft snow, and a man whose coat was trimmed with hoar-frost, and whose cap had a border of glistening icicles, stood before them.
The little fairies all felt quite frightened when they saw him. They trembled so that even their teeth chattered, for they knew that he was jack frost, and he was stern.
“I don’t allow fairies to come here during the winter-time.” he said angrily. “Why couldn’t you keep away until ‘Bluebell-time’?”
To punish them for their naughtiness he turned them into flowers and kept them prisoners for three weeks and a day.
Then he allowed them to go home; but every February they have to return for a few weeks, and the children of the earth call them snowdrops.
The Illustration, originally drawn for this story in ‘Land of the Happy Hours’ is by my favourite fairy artist Helen Jacobs. It was also reproduced in ‘The Tribute for the V.C’s’ published by John Horn 1930.